This blog is dedicated to my high school teacher, Harold Taylor, who grew up in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He is a World War II veteran and loves all kinds of machines (cars, ships, airplanes, radios, televisions, and computers) which have defined the very heart and soul of our country.
Most people go shopping the day after Thanksgiving, but Susan, Jeanette’s daughter, drove me to Pittsburgh to visit the Senator John Heinz History Center which is located very near to the “point” in downtown Pittsburgh. It was a wonderful day just to spend some time walking off all of the Thanksgiving turkey and to learn about the many unique cultural, social, and technical innovations which that came from the Pittsburgh area (like the H.J. Heinz Company and Heinz 57 Ketchup).
The all stainless steel body of this 1936 Ford Deluxe Sedan was designed by the Allegheny Steel and the Ford Motor Company. One has to wonder how much more “green” our society would be today if this concept car had been introduced into production. Paint does not like to stick to stainless steel, but I’m sure that these cars would have been covered with decals which could have been changed at the whim of their owners! This museum piece has over 200,000 miles on it and not a speck of rust.
Introduced in June of 1930, the Bantam Speedster was manufactured by the Austin Car Company located in Butler, Pa. This sleek and stylish two-seater boasted 40 mpg and room enough for two six foot tall men. (A comparable car today might be the Mazda Miata. Its price starts at $23,190 and gets 28 mpg on the highway, 21 mpg in the city.)
The Bantam Reconnaissance Car (otherwise known over the world as the “jeep”) was designed and successfully developed by the American Bantam Car Company in 1940. Although Bantam successfully developed the jeep, it was too small a company for war time production. The Ford Motor Company and Willys-Overland produced over 600,000 jeeps. The American Bantam Car Company produced only 2, 675 jeeps.
Well, there you have it Mr. Taylor. I’m sure that you would have loved to have taken Phyllis on a date in the Bantam Speedster! But you probably would have never guessed that this company ended up giving rides to our solders during the second World War.